22 Nov 2017
The United Nations in Libya, dismayed and sickened by the recent video footage of African migrants being sold as “goods” in the country, is actively pursuing the matter with the Libyan authorities to set up transparent monitoring mechanism that safeguard migrants against horrific human rights abuses.
This new footage, if confirmed, compounds the already unimaginable and inhumane horrors endured by migrants in Libya including, but not restricted to, human trafficking, forced labour, unlawful killings; sexual abuse of men, women and children, arbitrary detentions, all carried out in a system with no accountability or due process. Most recently, the UN’s International Organization for Migration has also alerted the international community of cases where migrants were being sold between human trafficking gangs.
“We cannot be a silent witness to modern day slavery, rape, forced labour and killings,” Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Ghassan Salame said. “The Libyan Government must address comprehensively this outrage to the conscience of humanity. The international community cannot continue to turn a blind eye as this already dire situation,” he added.
The UN takes note of the recent announcement of an investigation by the Libyan Government of National Accord and strongly urges that it be conducted in a swift and impartial manner. The United Nations stands ready to work closely with the Libyan authorities to provide legal protection for migrants, support them to address these despicable practices and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The UN in Libya will continue to advocate with Libyan authorities to ensure the safety and protection of migrants as well as the delivery of humanitarian assistance; the voluntary return of migrants to their homes; and the provision of support to local communities on migratory routes. Furthermore, the UN will work with Libya’s Northern and Southern neighbours to address the root causes of migration, border control, human trafficking and protecting the rights and dignity of migrants.